The FA and the Premier League have reached a new agreement, which will remove replays in the Emirates FA Cup after the first round alongside new calendar windows.

As part of the agreement, from the first round proper, the competition will be played without replays. The current format, which has no replays from the fifth round onwards, has been extended throughout the ‘Competition Proper’ in light of changes to the calendar driven by the expanded UEFA competitions.

Additionally, the deal, which is in place for the next six seasons and starts next season, will see all rounds of the tournament being played on weekends, including the fifth round which has been played in midweek for the last five seasons.

Mark Bullingham, Chief Executive of the FA, commented: “The Emirates FA Cup is our biggest asset and generates over 60 per cent of our revenue to invest into the game, so it is critical to secure a strong format for the future.

“This new agreement between the FA and the Premier League strengthens the Emirates FA Cup and gives this very special tournament exclusive weekends in an increasingly busy calendar.”

This news comes as the FA Cup has already undergone massive changes in terms of media rights earlier this year, with the BBC and TNT Sports reaching an agreement to broadcast the tournament over the next four years. 

Another change made to the competition is, the fourth and fifth rounds, along with the quarter-finals, will all be exclusive of Premier League fixtures for the first time. Furthermore, the fourth round will have an extended window from Friday to Wednesday, enabling fans to enjoy consecutive days of FA Cup football.

Richard Masters, Chief Executive of the Premier League, stated: “Throughout our discussions, both parties have been committed to enhancing the scheduling of the Emirates FA Cup, a hugely important domestic competition with a storied history.

“The FA and the Premier League have worked in partnership to deliver more exclusive weekends without compromising the excitement of knockout football and this has been achieved at the same time as allowing us to ease fixture congestion generally.”

The announcement also stated that the Premier League has increased funding to the football pyramid, providing up to an additional £33m for grassroots football on top of the £100m it currently gives.

In detail, the Premier League will provide up to £133m per season starting from the 2025/26 season. This commitment aims to maintain existing initiatives while also bolstering support for crucial areas of the game.

Currently, the league allocates £1.6bn every three years, which amounts to 16% of its total revenues, to various levels of men’s and women’s football, the league hopes that the additional funding will play a vital role in supporting different aspects of the game.

As part of this commitment, increased investment will be distributed into both the Football Foundation and the Premier League Stadium Fund, aiming to enhance facilities at lower-league clubs. Also, the funding will aim to create new avenues for individuals with disabilities to participate in football and further contribute to the development of the girls’ game.

Masters said: “The Premier League is proud of the investment it provides to all levels of the game and this new agreement with the FA will see us enhance our support into grassroots football.”

In terms of the calendar change, the mid-season break has been removed to allow for a mid-August kick-off for the Premier League. This extended summer break enables all Premier League clubs to ensure players receive a continuous three-week rest.

The organisations have said that this decision is based on expert advice from medical and technical departments, prioritising a longer period of complete summer rest over a short break in the winter.

Bullingham added: “The new schedule ensures the magic of the Cup is protected and enhanced, while working for the whole of the English game. The longer summer period also allows a much-needed player break before the start of the next season.”

Following this announcement, both organisations have come under scrutiny, as fans believe that this deal that the Premier League and FA say is ‘strengthening’ the competition is actually just a ploy to make the elite more money.

Kieran Maguire, a football finance expert shared his views on the social media platform ‘X’, previously known as Twitter.

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